Virtual product development in sustainable value networks

The B1 project aims at developing a design decision support system (DDSA) guiding engineers to develop more sustainable products. The guidance is realized by integrating methodical support into engineering environments. 51 methods have been screened for applicability whereof 22 were sufficiently described. These methods have been classified in 7 categories, for example according to suitable product development phase, addressed sustainability dimensions, addressed lifecycle phase. The described methods and corresponding classifications are available at www.sustainable-manufacturing.net/B1x. Nine of those methods have been applied to redesign a turbo charger. The approach to combine existing methods has proven to be highly promising. In the case of the turbo charger, the results are based on a mix of quantitative (CO2-footprint) and qualitative (ease of disassembly) specifications. The case study revealed a high effort for conducting methods especially for data acquisition. Specific information objects necessary to conduct the methods have been identified to facilitate method application.
The DDSA provides a systemized selection of suitable methods, guides users through methods and manages necessary information objects. Apart from existing, the approach to modularize products, for example, to increase product lifetime and reuse has been identified as promising. A method has been developed to guide engineers in modularizing a product. The method links sustainability goals to design strategies and finally modularization metrics (figure 1). These metrics are used to cluster functions and/or components and thus modularize the product in respect to multiple selected goals.

Figure 1 Modularization Method
Figure 1 Modularization Method

In the course of the B1 project an ontology (figure 2) has been developed allowing functional and sustainability requirements to be jointly considered in decision making. The material selection of a bike frame served as an example case. In a first step the CO2 Emission is only based on wrought material production. The material must fulfill functional requirements such as a specific stiffness which is determined by the material’s elastic limit and geometry. The material must also effect the fulfillment of a CO2 limit determined by the volume and material density. Each available material is checked for both requirements and suitable materials are determined. In future work the ontology will be extended to embrace more lifecycle relevant data such as production processes and to allow for varying also geometry parameters.

Figure 2 Product Ontology
Figure 2 Product Ontology

Learn more about challenges, approach and results of project B1 in this Powerpoint presentation